ATF

Sample Block


Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

For Immediate Release

April 23, 2009

www.atf.gov

Crawford County Woman Pelads Guilty to Federal Methamphetamine Charges

St. Louis, MO: Lena Leija pleaded guilty to federal methamphetamine charges, Acting United States Attorney Michael W. Reap and Crawford County Prosecuting Attorney Sidney Pearson announced today.

Leija, 25, Cuba, MO, pleaded guilty to one count to possession of pseudoephedrine knowing it would be used to manufacture methamphetamine. She appeared before United States District Judge Henry E. Autry, in St. Louis. Sentencing has been set for July 20, 2009.

Christopher Lea, 28, Steelville, MO; Chale Werley, 31, Bourbon, Missouri, were indicted on February 10 on related charges and are awaiting trial. Each defendant was indicted on one felony count of conspiracy to possess pseudoephedrine knowing that it would be used to manufacture methamphetamine, one felony count of conspiracy to manufacture in excess of 50 grams of methamphetamine and one felony count of possession of pseudoephedrine know that it would be used to manufacture of methamphetamine. Additionally, Christopher Lea is charged with being a previously convicted felon in possession of a firearm.

ATF Assistant Special Agent in Charge Jeff Fulton stated that, ATF remains committed to it’s partnerships with state and local law enforcement in investigating violent criminal behavior and ensuring these individuals are prosecuted to the fullest extent possible.

If convicted, these charges carry the following maximum penalties:

Conspiracy to possess pseudoephedrine knowing that it would be used to manufacture methamphetamine, 20 years prison and/or fines up to $250,000;

Conspiracy to manufacture in excess of 50 grams of methamphetamine, penalty range of 5 to 40 years prison and/or fines up to $2,000,000;

Possession of pseudoephedrine know that it would be used to manufacture of methamphetamine, 20 years prison and/or fines up to $250,000; and

Being a previously convicted felon in possession of a firearm, 10 years and/or fines up to $250,000.

Reap commended the work on the case by the Crawford County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, the Crawford County Sheriff’s Department, the South Central Missouri Drug Task Force, the Cuba and Steeleville, Missouri Police Departments, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, and Assistant United States Attorney Michael Bert, who is handling the case for the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

The charges set forth in an indictment are merely accusations, and the remaining defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.

More information about ATF and its programs is available at www.atf.gov.

###